September 25, 2008

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc

Alberta Centre for Active Living

The built environment, active transportation, public transportation, and health
Preventive Medicine Volume 47, Issue 3, September 2008, Pages 237-238
The papers in this month's themed issue, reflect both the exciting opportunities to identify major health determinants associated with modifiable characteristics of our habitats, and the relative infancy of this domain of research.

Journal of preventive medicine special issue
The January 2008 themed issue of Preventive Medicine on Self-transportation, Public Transportation and Health is available in full text.

Online TDM encyclopedia
“The Online TDM Encyclopedia is the world’s most comprehensive information resource concerning innovative transportation management strategies. It describes dozens of Transportation Demand Management (TDM) strategies and contains information on TDM planning, evaluation and implementation. It has thousands of hyperlinks that provide instant access to more detailed information, including case studies and reference documents.”

Realtors peddle real estate to bike-happy clients
Not surprisingly this news article is from Portland, Ore. “With gas prices high, bicycles flying out of stores and a buyers' market for houses, a handful of real estate agents around the country are touting the two-wheeled appeal of their listings.”

Take action on active travel: Why a shift from car-dominated transport policy would benefit public health
They summarize: Policy in relation to active travel is evolving rapidly; important work is in development relating to land use and planning, children and play, and sustainability, as well as the more traditional areas of transport and of public health. Decision makers should not be swayed by a vocal minority of motoring enthusiasts; the public are in favor of transport policies that support walking, cycling and public transport over the private car.


Health passport
Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 27(3), 416-433, 2008.

The Health Passport program was a collaborative effort with school PE teachers, health educators, and researchers. Teachers used the Health Passport process to hold students accountable for their involvement in physical activity outside of PE class over 3-7 months. Findings show that PE teachers can effectively promote physical activity beyond the school environment when they use specific strategies.

Risk and play: A literature review
Discover ways to balance risk-taking and safety in children's play with insight from research and expert opinion.

Youth sport vs. youth crime
“Organized sport programs for youth that develop social skills, mentoring opportunities with adult role models, cognitive skills, and increase feelings of self-confidence and self-esteem provide an antidote to antisocial behavior.”

A pilot study of physical activity education delivery in diabetes education centres in Ontario
The authors conclude “There is a lack of standardization in the content and delivery
of PA education in Ontario Diabetes Education Centers, and many diabetes educators feel that they lack the skills and training related to PA counseling.

Canadian Diabetes Association 2008 clinical practice guidelines for the prevention and management of diabetes in Canada

Prevention for a healthier America: Investments in disease prevention yield significant savings, stronger communities
A small, strategic investment in disease prevention could result in significant savings in health care costs, according to a new report released by the Trust for America’s Health. The report finds that an investment of $10 per person per year in proven community-based programs to increase physical activity, improve nutrition, and prevent smoking and other tobacco use could save more than $16 billion annually within five years (a return of $5.60 for every $1 spent).

Communities achieving responsive services (CARS) project
CARS cultivates local leadership by providing training, support and mentoring to communities through site visits, group gatherings, web-based supports and distance training sessions. The goal is to support networking and local leadership that will help communities work together to ensure that local services are accessible, responsive and culturally appropriate in communities across this country.

Promoting inclusive physical activity communities for people with disabilities
A new article in the Research Digest from the US President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

Effect of physical activity on cognitive function in older adults at risk for alzheimer disease
JAMA Vol. 300 No. 9, September 3, 2008
In this study of adults with subjective memory impairment, a 6-month program of physical activity provided a modest improvement in cognition over an 18-month follow-up period.

Physical activity and neighborhood parks
American Journal of Public Health, 98(8): 1451-1456.
Researchers collected observational data on 28 specific features from 33 parks, and 7-day physical activity logs from adult residents to study whether park size, number of features in the park, and distance to a park were related to its usage. Results showed that number of features was a significant predictor of increased use for physical activity, while size and distance were not. Park facilities (e.g., bike trails or ball fields) were more strongly related to park-based physical activity than park amenities (e.g., drinking fountains or picnic area). Of facilities, trails had the strongest relationship with park use for physical activity.

Places for physical activity: Facilitating development of a community trail and promoting its use to increase physical activity among youth and adults. An action guide
An action guide from the Partnership for Prevention. Although there are many options for modifying the environment to allow for increased physical activity, community trails have a unique advantage in that they can accommodate different types of physical activity by people of all ages.

Review of best practice in interventions to promote physical activity in developing countries
This review aims to address the evidence gap by describing physical activity interventions in developing countries (current practice), and compiling case studies of those interventions thought to be successful (current best practice), for example, in terms of raising awareness of the benefits of physical activity and increasing participation in physical activity. This information will then support WHO initiatives towards the development of guidelines for implementing physical activity interventions in developing countries. (A WHO document 1st published Oct 2005).

Active living, the built environment, and the policy agenda
Active Living Research has produced a special issue journal on active living, the built environment, and the policy agenda that features case studies funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Planning's role in building healthy cities
This special issue of the Journal of the American Planning Association includes several articles that advance our understanding of the influence of the built environment on physical activity. (large file, takes time to load)

Public health and the built environment
The American Planning Association has created a talking points webpage as part of the American Institute of Architects Communities by Design program. These talking points provide facts and figures that support the argument for including public health concerns in decisions affecting the built environment. Architects can design environments that incorporate physical activity into people's daily routines, give them a community with attractive destinations within walking or biking distance, and keep safety in mind with lighting, ''eyes on the street'' design, traffic calming, and other techniques to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

Commute trip reduction (CTR): Programs that encourage employees to use efficient commute options
“This chapter describes Commute Trip Reduction programs, which encourage more efficient commute travel. These programs provide encouragement, incentives and support for commuters to use of alternative modes (such as walking, cycling, ridesharing, public transit and telework), alternative work hours, and other efficient transportation options.”

Guaranteed ride home: A backup for commuters who use alternative modes
“This chapter describes Guaranteed Ride Home (GRH) programs, which provide an occasional subsidized ride to commuters who use alternative modes, to help deal with unexpected conditions.”


September 18, 2008

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc

Alta Planning + Design
Alta combines the skills of planning, design, landscape architecture and engineering to create bicycle, pedestrian, greenway and trail projects that improve and empower communities.

Decatur gets around – A community transportation plan
The City of Decatur is committed to becoming an "active living community," where our sidewalks and streets are designed to encourage walking and biking. What is Active Living? And how does that work with a community transportation plan? Find out more…..

National bicycle and pedestrian documentation project
The National Documentation Project (NDP) is an annual bicycle and pedestrian count and survey effort that is sponsored by the Institute of Transportation Engineers Pedestrian and Bicycle Council.

Prevention for a healthier America: Investments in disease prevention yield significant savings, stronger communities
This July 2008 publication concludes that investing $10 per person per year in proven community-based programs to increase physical activity, improve nutrition, and prevent smoking and other tobacco use could save the country more than $16 billion annually within five years.

Active options
Welcome to Active Options for Aging Americans, a guide to local physical activity programs and opportunities for older adults.

CDC Healthy aging network case study report

Healthy aging research network environmental audit tool and protocol
This audit tool and protocol was designed to support a detailed quantitative and qualitative inquiry into community-scale and street-scale factors associated with physical
activity in older adults.

Commute Trip Reduction Program (CTR)
The Washington State Legislature passed the Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) Law in 1991, incorporating it into the Washington Clean Air Act. The goals of the program are to reduce traffic congestion, reduce air pollution, and petroleum consumption through employer-based programs that decrease the number of commute trips made by people driving alone.


September 12, 2008

By Rosanne Prinsen, MSc

Alberta Centre for Active Living

Alta planning and design
We do plans for bikes, pedestrians, urban landscapes greenways, trials and paths, but we're also masters of innovation, research, programs and training.

Commute trip reduction program (CTR)
The Washington State Legislature passed the Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) Law in 1991, incorporating it into the Washington Clean Air Act. The goals of the program are to reduce traffic congestion, reduce air pollution, and petroleum consumption through employer-based programs that decrease the number of commute trips made by people driving alone.

Bikes 4 work
The Bicycle Federation of Australia (BFA) today launched a new service to help organizations set up bike fleets in their workplaces

Physician engagement program
Physician Engagement provides BC physicians with resources for their patients about the benefits of physical activity, how to get started with a walking program, and local information on programs and opportunities.

Planning for bicycling and walking: 2005 amendments to the growth management act
This guidance is intended to help those Washington counties, cities, and towns fully planning under the Growth Management Act (GMA) to understand and comply with 2005 amendments to the GMA requiring communities to plan for bicycle and pedestrian transportation and physical activity. This bill requires communities to consider urban planning approaches that promote physical activity, and requires a bicycle and pedestrian component be included in the Transportation Element of a comprehensive plan.

Walk BC
Walk BC is a joint initiative between the Heart & Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon and the BC Recreation & Parks Association. Walk BC encourages individual and group walking to increase overall health in communities through a range of programs that promote walking.

CAHPERD name change
September 3rd, 2008 marks the official day that the Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (CAHPERD) officially changes its name to Physical and Health Education Canada (PHE Canada).

Charter for active kids: A Blueprint for active and healthy children in Western Australia
The charter was developed to identify and articulate the key strategies that will enhance participation in daily physical activity for all children and adolescents in Western Australia.

IWALK October
October is International Walk to School Month (IWALK October) here in Canada and around the world. Wednesday, October 8, 2008 is IWALK Day and October 6-10, 2008 is IWALK Week. Schools can choose to organize relevant activities for the week, just one day or they can participate for the entire month. The IWALK movement started in 2000 with just eight countries and has grown each year to over 40+ participating countries.

School time physical activity of students with and without autism spectrum disorders during PE and recess
This study compared moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) of students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and students without disabilities during inclu­sive physical education and recess. [APAQ, 25(4), October 2008]

Exercise or exercise and diet for preventing type 2 diabetes mellitus.
“Interventions aimed at increasing exercise combined with diet are able to decrease the incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in high risk groups (people with impaired glucose tolerance or the metabolic syndrome). There is a need for studies exploring exercise only interventions and studies exploring the effect of exercise and diet on quality of life, morbidity and mortality, with special focus on cardiovascular outcomes.”

The parent's jury: Active friendly communities
“The Parent's Jury has launched a new campaign for active friendly communities. The campaign kit contains advocacy ideas and resources.”

WHO report on the social determinants of health
Social determinants of health have been the focus of a three-year investigation by an eminent group of policy makers, academics, former heads of state and former ministers of health. Together, they comprise the World Health Organization's Commission on the Social Determinants of Health.

Development of a conceptual model to predict physical activity participation in adults with brain injuries
Findings indicate that affect is critical in shaping the physical activity cognitions and behaviors of adults with brain injuries. Suggestions are made on practical ways to enhance affect and subsequently physical activity participation. [APAQ, 25(4), October 2008]

1st annual national obesity summit
The Canadian Obesity Network's premiere obesity event for 2009 is set to go in beautiful Kananaskis country. Canada's only professional conference dedicated solely to obesity, the National Obesity Summit will feature lectures, workshops and student poster presentations on cutting-edge research…...

Promoting active aging by connecting BC researchers and communities: Towards 2010 and beyond
This is the final report from the BCNAR annual conference held in Vancouver, BC April 2008.

Effectiveness of public health interventions for increasing physical activity among adults: A review of reviews (evidence briefing)
This evidence briefing collates review-level evidence about he effectiveness of interventions to increase physical activity among adults. It focuses on individual-centered interventions and discusses the potential generalization of the results to UK settings.

Guidance on the promotion and creation of physical environments that support increased levels of physical activity
“This guidance offers the first national, evidence-based recommendations on how to improve the physical environment to encourage physical activity. It demonstrates the importance of such improvements and the need to evaluate how they impact on the public's health.”

The rise and fall of Australian physical activity policy 1996 – 2006: a national review framed in an international context
Despite some progression of physical activity policy in the decade since 1995/6, this review found inconsistent policy development, both in Australia and elsewhere. Arguably, Australia has done no worse than other countries….. [Australia and New Zealand Health Policy 2008, 5:18]

Sport, physical activity and renewal: Case studies
“Encouraging people to participate in sport and physical activity regularly and to lead more active lives takes time and resources. Sport and physical activity projects that seek to contribute to neighborhood renewal need to be clear and selective about the outcomes they are seeking to achieve.”

The Informed Decisions Toolbox
Using research evidence when making decisions about the organization and financing of health care has great appeal, yet decision-makers do not always use this information. The Informed Decisions Toolbox addresses this issue in six steps and aims to help the health care decision-maker: acquire the best available evidence when making management decisions; assess whether evidence is useful, defined as accurate, applicable, actionable, and accessible; and improve the process by which evidence is used in decision-making.

Physical Activity and Women Aged 55 to 70
In an effort to further understand barriers and solutions related to physical activity and sport for women 55-70, a three-year project was undertaken by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) with funding provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada, through the Population Health Fund. From the wealth of information collected, CAAWS developed the following resources to help increase physical activity levels for women 55-70.